Use of Assesment Instruments

The variation in reports of the prevalence of dementia warrants carefully chosen instruments to assess cognitive and physical status in African American older adults (Froehlich et al., 2001) Baker (1996) reports differences in the validity of cognitive measures with African American older adults. The Activities of Daily Living Scale and the Short Portable Mental Status Questionnaire are two tools that have been specially tested and shown to be reliable and valid with older African Americans (Mouton, 1997).

Adapting Assessment Techniques to Skin Color

Image showing wide range of skin colorSince African American older adults have a wide range of skin color, it is very important for nurses and physicians to use appropriate assessments that reflect skin tone changes for conditions such as cyanosis. Skin color changes in decubitus ulcer formation are not readily apparent in dark pigmentation, so that actual skin breakdown often occurs before formation is noted (Richardson, 1996).